The 2022 Tour de France gets underway on Friday, July 1, and on July 24, the winner will emerge in Paris on the Champs-Élysées following the biggest event in all of cycling.
And while the American history tied to the event is long, officially only one American has ever won Le Tour: Greg LeMond in 1986, 1989, and 1990.
And that’s because the seven maillots jaunes (or yellow jerseys) won by Lance Armstrong from 1999-2005 were vacated by the UCI, cycling’s governing body, in October 2012. You can see how upset Armstrong was by this as he sent a taunting tweet after that decision with the photo below, which was later deleted.
Even to this day, Armstrong hasn’t show much remorse for his crimes of doping, which he finally admitted to Oprah Winfrey in January of 2013.
But that hasn’t stopped him from still taking credit for seven victories in the most prestigious event in his sport, as his current Twitter bio recognizes the “7 MJ’s” (maillots jaunes) he won in his career.
So while Lance himself still believes he’s the winner, officially there were no champions in Le Tour de France in those years. And that’s likely just as well since history now shows that basically the entire peloton was as full of drugs as domestiques. If the title was simply given to the next rider in the general classification, they’d likely be just as guilty as the men in front of and behind them.
So while Armstrong may have the trophies, jerseys, and cash in his possession from those races (though he’s lost plenty of dollars as well), those championships are no longer recognized. It’s a sad ending to what was once one of the great stories in the history of sport.
But according to the UCI, those seven years of titles from a cancer survivor that inspired people across the world simply never happened.